A Slow Start to Test Knitting

In the three days I’ve spent starting the test knitting, I’ve learned a few things.

The first thing is that I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that I feel somehow a bit nervous. I didn’t expect that. I threw myself into the cast on, which includes increases in seed/moss stitch on Friday night when I was dead tired and slightly drunk. That may explain why I started it three times. By the time Miss Marple was over, I was convinced I’d gone about it all wrong.

I hasten to add that none of this is the fault of the pattern. Now that I’ve approached it sober and not so tired, it’s going along very nicely.


But about the nerves, I feel like if I don’t get this right, it’s not just me who suffers. We test knitters have been engaged by Thea to get this pattern as ready as possible for sale. I actually can’t afford to approach this sort of task in a sodden state on a Friday night. What was I thinking? After that hiccup, I spent small pockets of time over the weekend working on getting it right, taking the task seriously and really making sure I was paying attention.

So far so good.

Once again, Cascade 220 is proving to be a stunningly solid and serviceable yarn. And the colour, Mallard, is beautiful and alluring. Moss stitch has never been a favourite of mine to knit but I’m finding that including increases in the mix is making it a rather engaging experience.

In other news, it’s my birthday in July and for some time I’ve been making noise about getting a sewing machine. My lovely husband took me out to just go looking yesterday and next thing we were walking out with a shiny new Janome machine. More on that later, but for now, here’s a peek at how I spent today. I made muslin squares, which I use for straining stock and other kitcheny activities. Lots of straight lines and hems.


I’ve got a long way to go, but this was fun and I’ll be giving some to my sister, Adele who, by the way, has written a great post about her first experience cooking S’Mores on our shared blog, which I’m sure are not new to American readers.



15 thoughts on “A Slow Start to Test Knitting

  1. Janomes: we bought one for Dearest Daughter for her 21st. Her choice from a range of suggested possibles.

    Dearest Daughter turns 42 in October. The Janome has done a LOT of work. The Janome has also never seen the inside of a repair workshop – not even for a check-up and ‘grease and oil change’. Bad girl…….! Same goes for the Janome overlocker that we all clubbed together to buy for her 25th.

    May your Janome be as reliable and loyal, and may you have a lot of fun with it.

    Gae, in Callala Bay

  2. I’ve test knit a couple of times, a sock for one friend and a shawl for another. Ooo, the pressure! But it was still fun. The best advice I can give is to take your time and take good notes. If something doesn’t look or feel right, keep going for a little while to see if it’s going to resolve itself into some structural detail you’ve never seen before.

    You can do it!

  3. I remember how nervous I felt when I had to do a test knit once, I think it is just as nerve wracking as making something for a special occasion. I love Thea’s designs, and the 3 listed for release soon all look wonderful. It sounds as though your sewing machine is a new hobby too, how fantastic with all the things you will be able to make. I hardly ever use mine at the moment but I do have periods where I will sit down and sew a bit.

  4. It’s looking good & I love the color. I can understand how you feel about test knitting as I know I will feel the same. We don’t want to let the designer down. Happy knitting.

  5. i am very excited to see where the sewing adventure takes you! and goddamn that colour looks stunning. and keep the wine drinking for complicated lace charts maybe?!

  6. Awww. You’re so sweet to be nervous! Don’t you worry – it’s quite appropriate to begin one of MY projects half in the bag. (My husband just said, “isn’t it Knit 1, Drink 2?”)

    I also have a tech editor on the job, so you just have fun knitting and tell me when I have asked you to create a third sleeve or something! I have the utmost faith in your abilities as a knitter and as a pattern reader.

    and I’m opening a beer as I write this!

  7. So excited about your new machine. I have fabric and thread, now it’s time to drag out the old portable and see if I can remember how to thread it. If I can make that hurdle, the rest should be cake. 🙂 Love your linen squares. I don’t have anything like that in my kitchen arsenal, but can think of many situations where it would be really useful. Thankfully, s’mores are not one. Makes it that much easier to make a bunch and down the lot before anyone’s the wiser. 😉

  8. a sewing machine! how exciting! you may have to have a name change to bellsknits’n’sews! i have had a janome for many years which has served me well. hope the knitting runs smoothly after the initial hiccup.

  9. I never thought of your responsibility to the designer when it comes to a test knit. Of course, it’s interesting to try something that no one else has knit before but making sure you follow the directions exactly and make notes didn’t occur to me. I like what you’ve done so far.

    My sewing machine sits in the bedroom corner acting as a shelf for now. I finally have a spare foom that will eventually become a craft/guest room. I’ll find a place for the machine so that it actually gets used. Sewing is so much quicker than knitting! More instant gratification.

  10. My “new” machine is a Janome, too, and I have put miles and miles on it already. It’s a breeze to thread, and it runs as sweetly as a purring kitten. Good buy!!

    The test swatch is looking great! Luscious color.

  11. Congratulations on the sewing machine! Mine was for my 35th birthday and even though getting to use it at the moment takes an absurd amount of planning, I love love love it. Very good choice, to make something useful for practice. I have no patience for “just practicing seams,” as I was advised. Might as well make something while you’re at it!

    I can’t say enough good about Cascade 220, either.

    Off to see the Aussie version of s’mores!!

  12. Your test knit is pretty. I know of the stress in trying to do right by the designer. Checking that the instructions can be understood by an average knitter, checking for math errors while trying to end up with a beautiful finished object requires some attention. I’m sure you will have fun.

  13. Happy New Sewing Machine: I am glad there are no Labradors at your house!!
    Oh I really like Moss Stitch, and yours looks lovely!!
    Good luck with the test knitting.

  14. Test knitting scares me a little so I haven’t done it yet! I like the colour of that yarn. I hope you enjoy your sewing machine! I never could sew straight lines well.

  15. oooh, increases in moss stitch – tricksy!
    still loving the colour of that c220!
    And a sewing machine – how exciting! I’m afraid mine is just a nice dust gatherer at the moment, but I will get it out again, I will!

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